The favourite proverb of US President Donald Trump could possibly belong to a Nigerian poet, Albashir Alhassan – but online searches show that the quoted phrase didn’t originate from him.

While welcoming Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to the White House on Friday, Trump read out a proverb he “loves”.

“This is a good one. This is one I like, I’ve heard it for many many years, and I love it,” he said, and proceeded to read out the proverb.

‘Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue. But never forget to remember those who have stuck by you’, it read.

Shortly after his address, many on social media went digging for the source of the proverb and some said it was from Alhassan’s poem.

DID IT ORIGINATE FROM GRIPTON’S BOOK?

But the words from Trump’s phrase also appeared in ‘A Happy Life‘, a book written by Peter Douglas Gripton.

A Happy Life was published in April 2008 by Las Atalayas Publishing.

In his usage of the phrase, Gripton described it as an extract from an Irish poem.

Alhassan’s poem from which many believe Trump extracted the phrase is titled ‘Remember to Forget’.

It was published on Poem Hunter.com.

It reads:

Always remember to forget,
The things that make you sad,
But never forget to remember,
The things that make you glad.

Always remember to forget,
The friends that proved untrue,
But never forget to remember,
Those that have stuck to you.

Always remember to forget,
The trouble that passed away,
But never forget to remember,
The blessings that come each day.

Always remember to do your duty,
And some kindness day by day,
But never forget to live a useful and happy life,
That is the only way.

BUT VIOLA WALDEN USED IT IN 1994

Despite being used by Gripton and Alhassan, the first known published usage of the phrase was in Viola Walden‘s book of 1994.

The phrase appeared on page 143 of the book entitled ‘Under construction: Pardon the mess: a collection of family-building thoughts’.

Walden also authored The Captain of Our Team, Sword Scrapbook, among other books.

‘I OWN IT’

But Alhassan maintains that the phrase originated from him.

He told NBC that he wrote the poem in 2001 when he was a teenager.

“I’m actually surprised because I’m wondering how someone like the American president got to find a poem that I just posted on the internet,” said Alhassan.

“I have no idea how he found it. I don’t know why he related it to St Patrick’s Day — it’s got nothing to do with that. It’s just based on my personal experiences.”

With the controversy surrounding its origin, the first ever usage of the phrase remains unknown.



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